Have you ever come across a situation and wondered why it’s a big deal? Why can’t they just suck it up and get on with it?

Dismissing how someone feels

Recently, I’ve realised how easy it is to dismiss other people’s feelings, and make what they’re experiencing appear insignificant. I have witnessed and felt some of the following consequences: –

  • I felt that my feelings weren’t important
  • I doubted whether I was being petty
  • I felt judged
  • I felt daft
  • I began to believe that my thoughts and feelings were irrelevant
  • I questioned whether what I was feeling was trivial
  • I ended up feeling worthless, inadequate and inferior

I have been guilty of thinking that someone is making a mountain out of a molehill, and that they should just get on with it. However, I have recently realised how destroying it can be.

Suck it up and get on with it!

Here’s a few examples that I’ve come across

  • Mariam is pregnant and unwell. Mary hears about this and says ‘pregnancy isn’t an illness, she needs to stop acting as if it is!’
  • Fred is off work because he is suspected of having Tuberculosis. One of his friends commented that he shouldn’t be off, because his nails and hair look good, and this wouldn’t be the case wouldn’t if he had TB.
  • Kalpa took over teaching a class whose regular teacher was on leave. She tried really hard to work in a way which meant she didn’t have to sit at the teacher’s desk, but she needed it for various reasons. She hesitantly re-organised it so that it was functional for her. Upon his return, Tim, the regular teacher, commented that she should have got on with it and left the desk as it was.
  • James complained about having to mow the lawn and weed the driveway. Michael couldn’t see what the fuss was about, and he told him that! He yearned to have a garden and wouldn’t complain about such things.
  • Aashi can’t take being in a cluttered environment. It takes a lot of effort for her to quietly endure it when she’s in someone else’s home. However, when she’s in her own home, she cannot rest until it’s neat and tidy. When she asked Suresh, (her brother), to put things back in their ‘designated’ place, he told her that she was being neurotic, unreasonable and needed to let it go.

When do you lack empathy?

Can you recall of a time when you were so ‘in your own head’, that you lacked empathy for someone else?

Can you think of a time when your expectations, understanding or definition, of what one should be able to do or ignore, blinded you from recognising that we’re not all the same?

Can you recall how you felt when you thought they should suck it up and get on with it?

  1. Did it make you angry or frustrated?
  2. Did you end up laughing at the other person?
  3. Did the negativity cause a tightness or some other form of tension, somewhere in your body?
  4. Did you end up complaining about how the other person was behaving?

Put yourself in their shoes…

Can you now put the shoe on the other foot, and think of a time when you couldn’t get passed something and those around you just couldn’t understand where you were coming from. They may have reacted in one of the ways listed above, or you may have experienced something different. Either way, did you feel good or were you left feeling some form of hurt?

My aim: what I can do differently

An interim measure is that I need to find a way to force a gap between seeing something, having an internal reaction to it, and expressing that reaction in some way. If I could do that, I could catch myself and prevent expressing the judgment I’ve made. This isn’t ideal, but it’s a step in the right direction.

My aim would be to stop judging altogether. I think like would be so much more peaceful for me and those around me.

What can I do if I can’t see beyond the emotion?

If I am in a state and can’t see passed the anger/hurt/frustration maybe I could try some of the following strategies:-

  • just myself out of the situation
  • remove myself from situations where others are backbiting
  • create opportunities to spot what’s good, to be grateful, to think more positively
  • use some form of exercise to get it out of my system e.g. go for a walk or do some yoga
  • find ways to calm the mind, perhaps through meditation

Could this be the phrase that saves us and everyone we meet?

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
– Ian MacLaren

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